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On other occasions, I have told you that because of my profession I had the good fortune to travel all over the country. Touring took me to inhospitable places in our beloved Argentina. From north to south, from east to west, I have seen the most spectacular landscapes: snow-capped mountains, lakes like infinite mirrors, the lighthouse at the end of the world, the Iguazú falls, the glaciers, the seven-color hill, Purmamarca, the Salinas Grandes, the Valley of the Moon, etc. I tried delicacies from each region, I drank mate, I ate empanadas, tortillas, locros, I sat at every table I was invited, I met wonderful friendly and extremely affectionate people.

I visited the richest and most protected places in our country as well as the poorest and most forgotten; a poverty unimaginable for any of us. Before that, I believed that in my childhood I had been poor. How wrong was I! That was not poverty: I grew up with a bathroom and a shower, I never had to travel ten or more kilometers to fetch water, we had a table with six chairs and natural gas for cooking. She was rich.

The north of our country is one of the most forgotten places where the word need is multiplied by millions. Today I am going to tell you about Salta, more precisely about Tartagal, the Chaco of Salta and the entire western Formosan area. When I visited these places I couldn’t hold back my tears, I found myself in situations that I would never have imagined. I assure you that it is one thing to see it on the news, in a photo or on National Geographic and a very different thing is to be there and become aware of the conditions in which many of its inhabitants live. Inhuman: that’s the definition.

A few days ago I received the news of the femicide of Pamela, a 12-year-old Wichí girl. Pame lived in Pluma de Pato, Salta. Since I read the sad news I have had a hard time sleeping, I have a mixture of emotions that run through my body, deep sadness, anger and indignation. It pains me to think of all the shortcomings and deprivations that this girl experienced in her short life and that this already tremendously unfair situation ended with an even more cruel one. Have you ever had a birthday cake and colored balloons? Did Santa Claus or the wise men visit her? Did you have toys? Did you have chocolate in your snacks? Did you have a bed to sleep in? Sheets of your favorite singer? What was your dreams? Did you want to be a teacher, a police officer, an astronaut or a doctor? Would you eat every day? I don’t know… The only thing I know is that his life was taken from him in the most heartless way possible. Reading different sites, I came across this information that made my blood run cold. As published by the networks of an NGO called “Aid to the original peoples”, the Wichís communities of western Formoseño and Salta are very concerned about what is known as the chineo. This is the name given to a supposed «cultural practice» in which a few criollos (men) get together with the purpose of «going out to chinear», that is, persecute, stalk a chinita (an aboriginal girl or adolescent), take her by the hair and drag her to the bush, where they repeatedly rape her and then throw her to her fate. Faced with this situation, the victim, his family, or the community to which he belongs, in the case of having the initiative to file a complaint, are unable, since the police stations do not take the complaint, with the justification that it is of ‘a cultural practice’.

This is an aberration, a crime typified in the Argentine Penal Code as rape with carnal access and, in many cases, murder. Another thing that the Wichí community denounces is that, in the hospitals or wards of these localities, they are denied a diagnosis stating that they have been raped, to prevent them from continuing to try to file a complaint.

The possibility of having emergency contraception and tests or treatments to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, of which they are totally unaware, is also hindered.

I am shocked that this type of practice continues to exist in our country and is not penalized. I beg the authorities, politicians, human rights organizations to take action on the matter urgently.

In Pamela’s case, there is a 17-year-old detainee who pleaded guilty to the act and does not want to talk. According to witnesses, those responsible would be four men. Pamela’s family and friends cry out for justice. The precariousness and violence that the Wichi girls experience are exposed in other cases: in August of last year, due to the complications of a risky pregnancy, another Wichi girl from Pacará died.

Governor Gustavo Sáenz, what are you waiting for? To those girls, wherever they are, I hope they have found some heaven where they can jump rope, play ball or tag, enjoying themselves, eating chocolate cake, as their childhood should have been: with happiness and without fear.

#JusticiaPorPamela #JusticiaPorLasNiñasWichis

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